What is Bipolar Disorder?

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Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder causing shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. It can greatly affect the individual’s ability to perform ordinary daily tasks. Complications of this disorder can damage relationships, affect job or school performance, and create suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Bipolar disorder develops in men and women equally, beginning in ages 15-25. It occurs more often in relatives of people with bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder show intense emotional states, including overactive happy states or extremely sad, hopeless states. These are called manic (happy) or depressive (sad) episodes. Individuals with bipolar disorder are highly irritable during this time, and moods fluctuate rapidly. Other symptoms include sudden changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior. Symptoms can become severe enough to affect function in the workplace, school, or household.

Hypomania occurs when a bipolar person suddenly feels great, can be highly productive, and functions as a normal individual. To family and friends this individual may not show any negative symptoms or mood swings. However, without treatment hypomania may develop into severe mania or depression. These different states of bipolar disorder can cause agitation, difficulty sleeping, appetite shifts, and suicidal thoughts.

Many bipolar individuals show behavioral problems including alcohol or substance abuse or relationship issues. They may become easily distracted, show little need for sleep, exhibit poor judgment and temper control, and may engage in reckless behavior. Diagnosing bipolar disorder can include researching family medical history, noting recent mood swings and their length, and laboratory tests for thyroid problems. Drug use may cause the same symptoms, but its important to not rule out bipolar disorder as it could be an indicator.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-215-2519 for more information.




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